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Not from the Onion

Posted By Russ Roberts On September 15, 2011 @ 9:28 pm In Health,Not from the Onion | Comments Disabled

From the Boston Herald [1] (HT: Drudge [2])

Encouraged by Michelle Obama’s campaign to reduce childhood obesity, the company that owns the Olive Garden, Red Lobster and four other popular restaurant chains is pledging to cut the calories and sodium in its meals and overhaul its kids’ fare.

Darden Restaurants Inc. was unveiling the changes Thursday, with the first lady on hand to lend support.

The company will pledge to reduce the calories and sodium in all its meals by 10 percent over five years, and by 20 percent over 10 years. For children, French fries and sugar-sweetened beverages will become the exception and not the rule.

It’s very easy to reduce calories by 10%–just make the portions a little bit smaller. I doubt that’s what they have in mind. And a restaurant making a 10 year pledge is a little strange. It’s not going to be very much in our consciousness ten years from now. But, fine. It was the next paragraph that made me wonder if I was reading The Onion or something out of a Monty Python sketch:

All kids’ meals will automatically come with a side of fruit or vegetables and eight ounces of 1 percent milk unless an adult requests a substitute, Drew Madsen, president and chief operating officer of Orlando, Fla.-based Darden, told The Associated Press.

Should be great for business. Kids at Red Lobster will love vegetables and milk with their fried fish. I’d love to know the real story here.

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